Businesses owned by women and people of color face greater challenges in accessing market opportunities, which are crucial for small businesses to scale and thrive. Hot Bread Kitchen is dedicated to providing opportunities for our small businesses to connect with a network of buyers and experts, like our partners at Whole Foods Market.
Food products made at Hot Bread Kitchen’s Incubator celebrate culinary tradition and heritage—from refreshing Carribean-inspired juices to West African peanut sauces. Whole Foods Market has long supported locally-made products (look for the “local” signs throughout the store!) We’re particularly proud that shoppers across the country can find NYC-made small batch goods from Hot Bread Kitchen Incubator members on Whole Foods Market shelves.
See below for a list of current Incubator members and alumni all available at Whole Foods Market.
“To be in a store means to have a seat at the table as a Black business.”Andre Springer, Shaquanda Will Feed You
Andre Springer, Shaquanda Will Feed You
Shaquanda Will Feed You is Hot Bread Kitchen’s newest member product available at Whole Foods Market. Find all four flavors of Shaquanda Will Feed You’s zingy hot pepper sauce available now at all 40 Whole Foods Market locations in the Northeast. Try the original habanero hot sauce in everything from breakfast tacos to spicy mayo.
Andre Springer’s “drag queen hot sauce” is an expression of his identity as a queer Barbadian New Yorker. Andre shared that Hot Bread Kitchen has been extremely crucial in getting into Whole Foods Market. “If it weren’t for Hot Bread Kitchen and the Harlem Local Vendor Program (HLVP), I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have the mentorship and this process would have been much more daunting.”
Getting hot sauce in stores means more than just sales. “To be in a store is really lovely, especially for my brand which is very visibly black and queer. To be in a store means to have a seat at the table as a Black business. It’s important to be available for little black queer kids to see a brand on a shelf—it forms a feeling of inclusion. It’s exciting as I grow and scale to see something that I’m proud of.”
Anna Peck, Chia Smash
Chia Smash is a better for you jam. Using dates instead of traditional sugar and chia seeds instead of pectin, these flavorful smashes have all the natural flavor without preservatives. All three Chia Smash flavors will be available at Whole Foods new Manhattan West location. In 2019, Founders Anna Peck and Steven Ford sent the local buyers at Whole Foods Market a cold email, but it was at Hot Bread Kitchen’s Buyer’s Showcase in the fall of 2019 where they met the Whole Foods Market team in person. Ahead of their summer Whole Foods Market launch, Anna says, “My dream since day one has been to be at Whole Foods Market. This is really an opportunity for us to expand our reach and build our brand. ”
Beth Litt-Whal, Brittle and Beyond
Beth Litt-Whal’s all-natural brittle is nutty, fruity, floral—and vegan! Brittle and Beyond is a plant-based candy using coconut oil rather than the traditional butter. As a former Bakery Lead at Whole Foods Market, Beth started her own venture and remarks it is full-circle to return to the grocer with her very own retail product. “It’s been great to work with Whole Foods Market. Even though the timing for my product’s launch coincided with the pandemic, Whole Foods still helped set me up with a distributor to make my launch easier as my product moves from one store to all 40 Northeast stores in September 2020.”
Carmen Ng and Evelyn Li, Ocka Treats
Ocka Treats is a vegan New York cheesecake company. At Whole Foods Market’s newest Manhattan West location, Ocka Treats will be launching its first retail packaged product: No-bake New York-style cheesecake in two flavors: salted caramel and matcha white chocolate. Co-founder Carmen says, “Whole Foods Market has remained supportive of us and other locally made products during the pandemic. They worked with us to develop our first retail packaged product and guided us through all the necessary steps to launch our product during this time.”
Janie Deegan, Janie’s Life Changing Baked Goods
After a dark period of addiction and homelessness, Janie Deegan found solace and healing through baking. Now, she’s a Food Network CHOPPED Sweets champion, and baker of sweet treats including her famous pie crust cookies, available at Whole Foods Market. Janie proudly says, “I’ve been working on this product and putting my all into it for over two years and to finally see Pie Crust Cookies on shelves in a place like Whole Foods Market… well it’s surreal to say the least.”
Bintou Ndaw, Nafi’s Hot Pepper Condiments
Nafi’s Hot Pepper Condiments was founded by Nafissatou Camera and is now run by her daughter, Bintou. Nafi created the line of West African sauces to fill a market need for African-influenced products in New York City. “We were one of the first African-influenced products in Whole Foods Market. it was perfect for people to learn about African food through our products,” Bintou shared. From peanut sauce to curry simmer sauce and ketchup, “Nafi’s condiments and sauces are made with love and commitment to my family and my traditions, and the love of pure, healthy, natural, tasty and comforting spicy food.”
Mohammed and Rahim Diallo, Ginjan
Mohammed and Rahim Diallo spent their childhoods in Guinea drinking homemade ginjan, a West African ginger juice sweetened with pineapple and spiced with a hint of anise. The brothers founded Ginjan, making it the first branded version of ginjan available in America. Since joining Hot Bread Kitchen’s Culinary Incubator in 2015, Ginjan has scaled tremendously, from selling their juice at bodegas to landing over 100 different wholesale accounts, including Whole Foods Market.
“Whole Foods has been supportive of my brand and vision of fresh on-the-go snacking with an ethic brand story. We can’t say enough good things about the local program and regional buyers.”Anshu Dua, The Chaat Company
Hot Bread Kitchen Incubator Alumni
Jen and Jeff Martin, PipSnacks
Siblings Jen and Jeff Martin work directly with family farms across the country growing heirloom varieties of corn which pops into mini popcorn. Pipcorn now has an expanded product line including cheese puffs and crackers and is available nationwide at Whole Foods Market. “Hot Bread Kitchen’s Incubator gave us a shot when we needed one and provided a positive, clean, functional space to start our business,” Jen said. “Hot Bread Kitchen made our initial introduction to Whole Foods Market, where we’re now distributed nationally. It’s hard to say what our trajectory would have been without them, but I definitely think it would have been different.”
Anshu Dua, The Chaat Company
Served in roadside carts helmed by masters of bold flavors and textures, chaat is alive with crunch and spice and tang. Co-founder Anshu Dua of The Chaat Company formed a relationship with Whole Foods Market while a member of Hot Bread Kitchen’s incubator. The Chaat Company has had a long relationship with Whole Foods Market that has supported their brand and vision, even helping to pivot their product line. “Whole Foods was supportive of us bringing the flavors of the streets of India to retail,” Anshu said. “They have been supportive of my brand and vision of fresh on-the-go snacking with an ethic brand story. We can’t say enough good things about the local program and regional buyers.”